Ron Taverner withdraws name from consideration to be OPP commissioner

Amidst the controversy surrounding his appointment, Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner has withdrawn his name from consideration as the next OPP commissioner.

In a letter to the Ford Government, Taverner said it's not an easy decision, but that he was doing it to protect the "integrity of rank and file police officers."

The 72-year-old is a long-time friend of Premier Doug Ford and the government has acknowledged that job requirements for the position were lowered. 

One of the individuals on the three-person hiring panel also served as his former boss at Toronto Police.

It comes the same week that now former Deputy OPP Commissioner Brad Blair was fired, who has gone public with concerns over Taverner getting the job.

Premier Doug Ford thanked Taverner for putting his forward, but that it was unfortunate that the opposition chose to politicize the process.

TAVERNER LETTER:

Please accept this letter as my request to withdraw my name from consideration for the position of Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

This decision is not an easy one for me to make. I believe the OPP requires new leadership and a change in culture at its most senior levels. The thousands of men and women who make up the front lines of the OPP deserve leadership that will put their concerns and well-being at the forefront of decision-making. It is only then that the OPP will truly serve and protect the public to the best of its ability. It is for these very reasons that I have come to this decision - to protect the integrity of rank and file police officers given the controversy surrounding my appointment.

I am grateful to have had the confidence of the Government and believe that my 51-years in law enforcement would have provided me with the experience and leadership skills to do the job of Commissioner in a way that would have served the interest of the public and front-line police officers in the best way possible.

Premier Doug Ford Statement:

“I have the highest degree of respect for the front-line officers of the OPP and all police officers across this province - they put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities and keep us safe. 

“Since the beginning of this process, our objective has been to bring new leadership in order to address many long-standing and systemic issues that have existed for some time within the OPP; I am concerned about the countless negative stories I have heard directly from front-line officers. As far as our rank and file officers are concerned we must do better. 

“We need a new vision for the OPP; one that puts the interests of our front-line officers and the safety of the people of Ontario as its primary focus, above all else. Bringing about this kind of change at the OPP will require new leadership and it will not be easy, but it is necessary.

“On behalf of the Government, I want to thank Ron Taverner for putting his name forward. His fifty years of policing experience and support for the front-lines would have been a tremendous asset to the OPP and to the people of Ontario. It is very unfortunate that the opposition has chosen to politicize this process rather than focusing on how we can support our front-line officers. 

“I want every police officer in Ontario to know that I will always stand behind them.”

From the Office of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Sylvia Jones:  

“Today, Minister Jones received and accepted a letter from Superintendent Ron Taverner, that outlined his request to withdraw from consideration for the position of Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police. We thank him for his continued service as a decorated police officer.

“Interim Commissioner Gary Couture remains in his post. We will have more to say about the role of the Commissioner in the near future.”